Peru is ready to fill the avocado supply gap while helping to increase consumption of avocados in the U.S. market
Shipments of avocados from Peru have been landing in U.S. ports since mid-May and are scheduled to continue well into late September.
“We are ready to fill the gap and help increase the consumption of avocados in the U.S.,” said Xavier Equihua, president of the Peruvian Avocado Commission and architect of the group’s U.S.-based Avocados from Peru promotion program. “Peru is going to be a good marketing partner and supply the U.S. what it needs.”
Peruvian avocado exporters have been sending fruit and building markets in the U.S. and the European Union for much of the past decade. Equihua said, “Peru is the avocado origin that is exported to the most international markets” and will be exporting one billion pounds worldwide this year.
“We have the ‘World’s Favorite Avocado,’” he said, articulating the commission’s tagline.
In 2020, Peru sent 180 million pounds of fruit to the United States and more than three times that much to Europe, which saw almost a 25 percent increase in avocado consumption last year, according to Equihua. Peru is Europe’s number one supplier of avocados, and Europe is Peru’s top market. But the United States is still the number one market in the world, and Peru would like a larger market share.
Jose Antonio Castro of the Peruvian avocado operation Agrokasa, who is chairman of PAC, said the United States’ perch as the number one market in the world gives Peru an excellent opportunity to grow its market share and increase its exports to the United States.
This year, Equihua said the volume could climb 30 percent to 235 million pounds if the situation warrants it. “Price is an important factor,” he said, adding that because of the multiple outlets for Peru’s fruit, exports can be flexible as they fill the needs of their customers.”
Castro agreed, noting that Chile is an excellent customer for Peruvian Hass avocados, and grower-packer-shippers are also working to expand the domestic market for the Hass variety, though Peruvian shoppers traditionally prefer green-skinned avocado varieties.
But to the extent that U.S. importers can handle it, Peruvian exporters will happily ship to the U.S. market as Avocados from Peru attempts to build demand. Equihua said this year’s promotion program has many exciting parts, including the first-ever organic avocado promotion effort highlighted elsewhere in this section.
Avocados from Peru works with retailers on an individual basis, establishing custom promotions that fits each retailer’s format and merchandising scheme. Equihua said the organization does not believe in the one-size-fits-all approach. Each retailer has different needs and works with the Peru industry choosing from various options, including traditional and new media, instant rebate and e-coupons, printed and digital point-of-sale material, and many other tactics.
“Everything is bespoke,” Equihua said, adding that AFP will also be using digital media and an instant rebate coupon that was so successful last year in promoting Peru’s avocado crop in a more robust way in 2021.
Avocados from Peru’s most exciting and unique promotion is the coverage being offered to retailers during the NBC and Telemundo broadcast of the 2021 Summer Tokyo Olympic Games in July and August. As Peru reaches peak avocado shipments, Avocados from Peru will be the only fresh produce organization offering tagged TV spots and digital assets to its retailer partners. The unique TV spots and digital assets produced by NBC Universal of the most important international sport event will grab the attention of consumers throughout the world.
Equihua told The Produce News that AFP will be one of the major sponsors of the World Avocado Organization’s second edition of the World Avocado Cup Regatta at the San Diego Yacht Club during the July 31-August 1 weekend. “This is the only event in the world that brings together the international avocado category in a sport,” he said, noting that the regatta features 12 branded sailboats representing avocado-producing nations.
In 2021, PAC will introduce another industry innovation: the first educational band for mesh bags, in conjunction with several major retailers. The traditional band on the retail pack mesh bag is valuable real estate that is being under-utilized to educate consumers on how to use and ripen avocados. Additionally, PAC will offer as part of this educational band a free downloadable 100-page cookbook for consumers. The new cookbook includes fabulous recipes that can be downloaded free of charge by using a QR code or from the website (avocadosfromperu.com).